Chapter CONTEXT from MHCC: The apostle here salutes an honourable matron and her children (v. 1-3). Recommends to them faith and love (v. 5, 6). Warns them of deceivers (v. 7), and to take heed to themselves (v. 8). Teaches how to treat those who bring not the doctrine of Christ (v. 10, 11). And, referring other things to personal discourse, concludes the epistle (v. 12, 13).
Today’s posting was prompted by an email from Christianity Today entitled Top 5 Heresies Among American Evangelicals. Please take a moment and read the full text of the article but for space’s sake I will list the 5 heresies here:
- Jesus isn’t the only way to God.
- Jesus was created by God.
- Jesus is not God.
- The Holy Spirit is not a personal being.
- Humans aren’t sinful by nature.
I think it helps to define two terms here, heresy and evangelical Christian since they are at the forefront of this article:
HER’ESY, noun [Gr. to take, to hold; Latin haeresis.]
1. A fundamental error in religion, or an error of opinion respecting some fundamental doctrine of religion. But in countries where there is an established church, an opinion is deemed heresy when it differs from that of the church. The Scriptures being the standard of faith, any opinion that is repugnant to its doctrines, is heresy; but as men differ in the interpretation of Scripture, an opinion deemed heretical by one body of Christians may be deemed orthodox by another. In Scripture and primitive usage, heresy meant merely sect, party, or the doctrines of a sect, as we now use denomination or persuasion, implying no reproach.
2. heresy in law, is an offense against Christianity, consisting in a denial of some of its essential doctrines, publicly avowed and obstinately maintained.
3. An untenable or unsound opinion or doctrine in politics.
Also, see / Heresy
evangelical Christian Evangelicals take the Bible seriously and believe in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord. The term “evangelical” comes from the Greek word euangelion, meaning “the good news” or the “gospel.” Thus, the evangelical faith focuses on the “good news” of salvation brought to sinners by Jesus Christ.
Also, see: What is an Evangelical Christian?
So if we accept these definitions next we need to ask what are the basic tenets or core beliefs of “the good news” or the “gospel” that evangelical Christians are supposed to be propagating? As for the Gospel, everyone I researched seems to agree there are five (5):
- Jesus is the Son of God and is equal with God (John 1:1, 49; Luke 22:70; Mark 3:11; Philippians 2:5–11)
- Jesus lived a perfect, sinless life (Hebrews 4:15; John 8:29)
- Jesus was crucified to pay the penalty for our sins (Matthew 26:28; 1 Corinthians 15:2–4)
- Jesus rose from the dead (Luke 24:46; Mark 16:6)
- We are saved by the grace of God; that is, we cannot add to or take away from Christ’s finished work on the cross as full payment for our sin (Ephesians 2:8–9)
I would add to that the sufficiency of Holy Scripture and the Sovereignty of the Triune God as core beliefs for all True Christians. If we do not believe scripture to be true and that God is in control why bother at all, but that’s me.
In our main text picture above is the phrase DOCTRINE MATTERS, yet in reading the article this morning (also see the full report on the State of Theology) it would seem that many calling themselves Christians deny this Biblical truth. To deny the importance of Biblical Doctrine is to deny the basic principles of the Gospel.
No one can say “Jesus is Lord” (1 Cor. 12:3; Rom. 10:9) without speaking in a deeply doctrinal way, because this simple statement rests on profound biblical truths. It assumes that Christ is the eternal second member of the Trinity, who became uniquely God incarnate, was set forth as our substitutionary atonement, was raised from the dead having conquered all evil, and is now reigning sovereignly over all reality (Eph. 1:20–22).What Is Doctrine and Why Is It Important?
Remember what the next verse (v.11) says to those who would deny, encourage, or otherwise ignore bad doctrine (heresy): For he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds. One can not understand evil deeds without understanding what is right doctrine.
A statement of the basics of the faith.
The Apostles’ Creed was not written by the Biblical Disciples. The name is deemed as a sum and substance of the early Apostolic teaching which the disciples would have held to. Earliest version found is A.D. 215. The current version is circa 542 A.D.
1. “Descended into hell” does not refer to literally going down into the bowels of hell itself to be subject to the devil (which is the position of many heretical and charismatic preachers today). Rather, it is a poetic way of stating that Christ truly and assuredly died on the cross.
2. The word “catholic” refers not to the Roman Catholic Church, but to the universal church of the Lord Jesus Christ.